Commissioned to make a working-class family drama for public television, up-and-coming director Rainer Werner Fassbinder took the assignment and ran, dodging expectations by depicting social realities in West Germany from a criticalâyet far from cynicalâperspective. Over the course of several hours, the sprawling story tracks the everyday triumphs and travails of the young toolmaker Jochen (Gottfried John) and many of the people populating his world, including the woman he loves (Hanna Schygulla), his eccentric nuclear family, and his fellow workers, with whom he bands together to improve conditions on the factory floor. Rarely screened since its popular but controversial initial broadcast, Eight Hours Donât Make a Day
rates as a true discovery, one of Fassbinderâs earliest and most tender experiments with the possibilities of melodrama.
- âEight Hours Donât Make a Dayâ: A Series Becomes a Family Reunion, a 2017 documentary directed by Juliane Maria Lorenz, featuring interviews with actors Hanna Schygulla, Irm Hermann, Wolfgang Schenck, and Hans HirschmÃ¼ller
- New interview with film scholar Jane Shattuc
- An essay by scholar Moira Weigel